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  • Writer's pictureTelina R.Ac

Does sleeping with your furry friend improve imsomnia?



 

As mentioned in previous posts, 35% - 40% of individuals suffer from insomnia.


Insomnia can be defined as difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, and not feeling rested upon waking.


Many causes of insomnia can be linked to stress, mental health issues, poor sleep habits, alcohol use, caffeine use, menstrual cycle phases, pregnancy, pain, medications and more.


 

When we don't get enough sleep at night, this can make our days even harder by manifesting as symptoms of:


- difficulty concentrating

- daytime sleepiness

- irritability

- decreased alertness while performing tasks that could harm selves or others (eg. driving)

- impaired memory

- etc.



 




 

Research suggest that over 56% of people let their furry friends have a spot on the bedtime, but is this beneficial or harmful to your sleep?


Benefits of sleeping with a pet include:


- Comfort and security

Let's be honest. Having a pet in the room gives us the ability to feel safe that we will be alerted of potential dangers that could arise while we a sound asleep.


- Improved mental health (stress, depression, and anxiety)

Having our pets around us increases oxytocin levels in adults which is related to happiness and relaxation while having an inverse reaction to decrease levels of cortisol which relates to stress.


- Improved immunity

Although more research is needed on this subject, having pets in the home and having them come to pet with you increase your exposure to different pathogens and bacteria which may aid the body in being able to quickly identify more pathogens and thus have the ability to fight them off.


- An improvement in overall health

Having our pets around us may show improvements in heart health by decreasing our heart rates and blood pressure.


- Promote Theta brain waves

As pets can increase oxytocin levels, this has a positive relationship with improving our time spent in REM sleep, which is important for emotional and memory regulation.


- Improve sleep quality

Ever have pets who get annoyed when you stay up past your bedtime? Our little furry friends can help us create better sleep habits which in turn help us fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.


- Purring simulates white noise


 


 

The downside of sleeping with pets include:


- Decreased sleep quality & interruption of sleep

Although they have the ability to increase our sleep quality, they can also be annoying when night comes. Some dogs like to bark at things that aren't there and some cats like to walk over your face. Determining if you can get a restful sleep with your furbaby is very important.


- Allergens & germs

As mentioned above that our animals can help improve immunity, then may also be the reason we become ill. Pets who go outside may get into things we don't know about and track it inside and then into our beds, which is why it's important to clean their paws and the bed sheets and blankets often.


- Aggression

Some pets may become aggressive if woken up. If they are sleeping and you want them to move, just be mindful they may not realize what is going on and to do so gently in case they are in the middle of a bad dream which can result in bites or scratching.


- Different sleep cycles

Our animals don't sleep as deeply as we do and tend to wake up more often because they are constantly on alert for threats. Some of them will even walk over you on purpose to ensure you are still alive because they aren't used to their counterparts sleeping so deeply.


- Decreased room on the bed

If you have a big dog, you're going to need a bigger bed. If you have three animals, you're going to need a bigger bed. Don't lie, you're not going to wake up your precious little pumpkin who looks like a little angel to move them over because you are in a pretzel shape and now your back hurts - GET A BIGGER BED if you're letting them sleep with you.


 

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